News – Page 7
The Will Green Column
This month I would like to write about ‘Earth Day’ which was first celebrated on the 22nd April 1970. This year’s Earth Day is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to change our attitude and behaviour towards plastics. Earth Day events in more than 192 countries which are now co-ordinated globally by the Earth Day network.
Each year the UK average household uses 480 plastic bottles but only recycles 270 of them. This means that nationally almost 16 million plastic bottles aren’t being put out for recycling.
Iceland became the first major retailer to commit to eliminate plastic packaging for all own brand products within 5 years to help the ‘scourge’ of plastic pollution. Iceland said they would be replacing plastic with packaging including paper and pulp trays and paper bags which would be recyclable through domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities. It has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range and new food ranges are set it hit the shelves very soon.
This move has been welcomed by environmental campaigners as concern grows over plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, where it can harm and kill wildlife such as turtles and seabirds.
The BBC documentary Blue Planet 2 did an episode showing how plastic affects sea creatures. During filming a hawksbill turtle got caught up in a plastic bag but fortunately the camera operator managed to release it and it swam away unharmed, however not all sea creatures will be as lucky.
Another episode looked at how tiny plastic particles (microplastics) may play a role in the uptake of industrial pollution in marine life.
Despite efforts by many of us to ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ the fact is we’re generating more landfill than ever before. Globally we produce 1.3 billion tons of landfill waste per annum with a projected increase of 2.2 billion tons by 2025.
If we continue at the same increasing rate of waste production, by the year 2157, the world will be completely covered in rubbish.
Here’s some ways we can help our environment
Recycling facilities – recycle everything you can
Slow down – driving at 50mph uses 25% less fuel than 70mph
Central heating – turn your dial down and put a jumper on
Showers – take a shower rather than a leisurely bath
Appliances – buy energy efficient appliances when you replace old ones
Bags – use cloth reusable bags instead of plastic carrier bags
Water – drink tap or filtered, not bottled
Turn off – turn off TVs etc instead of switching to standby
Insulation – insulate your home, cavity wall insulation can cut heat loss by up to 60%
Mug – take a mug to work instead of using disposable cups
Compost heap – this will reduce the waste you send to landfill sites
I hope you have found this month’s article on Earth Day and how we can help our environment not only interesting but useful in the fight against plastic pollution.
See you next month, Will Green